235 Pello Road
Bricktown, NJ 08724
Dear Mr. DiGregorio:
This responds to your May 2, 1996, letter asking how Federal regulations would affect your product, a Atransparent tint@ film that sticks by static cling directly to the outside side view mirrors of vehicles. You state that the purpose of the product is to reduce glare from the mirror.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does not have any specific Federal motor vehicle safety standard directly applying to tint film for mirrors. However, if your product were manufactured for a new vehicle, Safety Standard No. 111, Rearview mirrors (49 CFR 571.111), would apply to the vehicle. Standard 111 prescribes construction requirements for all mirrors, including the driver=s outside mirror on passenger cars. S11 of the standard requires a single reflectance mirror to have an average reflectance of 35 percent. If your product were installed on a new vehicle, the vehicle manufacturer would have to certify that the mirror/film combination reflected at least 35 percent of incident light.
There are other Federal requirements that affect the manufacture and sale of your product. Your product is considered to be an item of motor vehicle equipment. As a manufacturer of motor vehicle equipment, you would be subject to the requirements concerning the recall and remedy of products with safety related defects. I have enclosed an information sheet that briefly describes those responsibilities. In the event that you or NHTSA determines that your product contains a safety-related defect, you would be responsible for notifying purchasers of the defective equipment and remedying the problem free of charge.
Manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and motor vehicle repair businesses are subject to a statutory provision, that prohibits them from Amaking inoperative@ any device or element of design installed in compliance with an applicable Federal safety standard. ...." A business, such as a car dealer or repair shop, could not install your film on a new or used vehicle if it reduced the mirror reflectance below 35 percent.
We do not regulate vehicle owners adding to or otherwise modifying their vehicles. Thus, if your product were installed by the vehicle owners, they would not need to meet any Federal motor vehicle safety standard. Nevertheless, NHTSA urges them not to degrade the safety of their vehicles.
Individual states have the authority to regulate the use of vehicles. As for information on state requirements, we suggest you contact the Department of Motor Vehicles in the states the tint will be sold or used.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Paul Atelsek of my staff at (202) 366-2992.
Samuel J. Dubbin Chief Counsel